To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)
by Jenny Han
Hardcover // 355 pages
Published // April 15th 2014 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
“What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.”
I first read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE when it first came out in 2014. At the time, I rated it 4 stars, and thought it was the cutest thing. Three years ago, I was a freshman in college. While this wasn’t THAT long ago, I think that being three years older really did change my enjoyment of the book. Overall it’s still pretty adorable and sweet!
First thoughts //
This book is incredibly CUTE. Like, that’s one of the only things I have to say about it. Which isn’t a bad thing! I think it does a lot of things well, like the family parts are great and the romance is really innocent. There’s baking and crafts and it’s really really sweet.
The family in this book really takes the center stage. Lara Jean, our main character, is one of three Song girls. Her older sister Margo is about to head off to college in Scotland, and her younger sister Kitty in still in elementary school. Their father is super involved in their life, but their mother passed when they were little. The three sisters are incredibly close, especially since Margot took on a motherly role when their mom passed. They all like to spend time with each other at home, either having family dinners, baking cookies, or just being around one another, and it’s really sweet!
With the premise of all of the love letters Lara Jean has ever written to the boys she has loved getting sent to them on accident, the romance is surprisingly not that intense. It comes down basically to a love triangle between Lara Jean, Peter K., and Josh. Josh is their next door neighbor who has been dating Margot for the past few years, and he’s more geeky and down to earth. He’s very caring and is friends with the entire family. Peter K. is on the lacrosse team, very handsome, and has a decently big ego. I was not a fan of Peter, who is decent enough but wasn’t very special as far as I was concerned. I did like that it’s pretty body-positive, and positively portrays girls who move slowly in relationships and are more innocent.
The Song girls are Korean American, and their identity is so important to the them (as is ANYONE’S identity) without being the driving force of the story. It’s great great great representation and I know it has been important to many young women to see a reflection of themselves in this story. I think the same can be said about the innocence of Lara Jean and her story, which I think will ring true for young teens in a way they might not see very often.
It’s entirely wholesome and sweet. It feels really, really young though, which might not be everyone’s favorite thing. TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE is cute and perfect for younger teens, or anyone looking for the fluffiest kind of YA Contemporary!
Overall Rating: 3/3.5 out of 5 stars